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Cambodia: 1996

1956: Cambodia

1957: Cambodia
1958: Cambodia
1959: Cambodia
1960: Cambodia
1961: Cambodia
1962: Cambodia
1963: Cambodia
1964: Cambodia
1965: Cambodia
1966: Cambodia
1967: Cambodia
1968: Cambodia
1969: Cambodia
1970: Cambodia
1971: Cambodia
1972: Cambodia (Khmer Republic)
1973: Cambodia (Khmer Republic)
1974: Cambodia (Khmer Republic)
1975: Cambodia
1976: Cambodia
1977: Cambodia
1978: Cambodia
1979: Cambodia
1980: Cambodia
1981: Cambodia
1982: Cambodia
1983: Cambodia
1984: Cambodia
1985: Cambodia
1986: Cambodia
1987: Cambodia
1988: Cambodia
1989: Cambodia
1990: Cambodia
1991: Cambodia
1992: Cambodia
1993: Cambodia
1994: Cambodia
1995: Cambodia
1996: Cambodia
1997: Cambodia
1998: Archaeology: Radar Reveals Hidden Ruins in Cambodia
1998: Cambodia: Hun Sen Declares Election Victory
1998: Pol Pot Dies at 73
1998: Coalition Government

Archives consist of articles that originally appeared in Collier's Year Book (for events of 1997 and earlier) or as monthly updates in Encarta Yearbook (for events of 1998 and later). Because they were published shortly after events occurred, they reflect the information available at that time. Cross references refer to Archive articles of the same year.


1996: Cambodia

After years of uncertainty, Cambodia's economy showed signs of stabilizing in 1996. Gross domestic product growth of 7 percent was forecast for the year, raising per capita income to $309 (nearly triple that of five years earlier). Inflation was estimated at 7 percent, while Cambodia's currency depreciated slightly against the dollar, to around 2,705 riels in October. With a three-year, $760 million foreign aid pledge already in place, the government received pledges for a further $500 million for the 1996-1997 fiscal year at the Tokyo meeting of the Consultative Group of donor nations in July.

Despite recriminations concerning drug smuggling and environmentalist condemnation of rapid forest resource depletion, trading relations with the United States were normalized in the fall when most-favored-nation status was granted to Cambodia.

Political uncertainty deepened as the uneasy coalition government was threatened by animosity and mutual suspicion between First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Second Prime Minister Hun Sen. Ranariddh in March accused Hun Sen, leader of the Cambodian People's Party, of not abiding by their power-sharing agreement and threatened to withdraw his royalist Funcinpec party from the government and perhaps from Parliament.

In April, Ranariddh visited France with his father, King Norodom Sihanouk, and met with exiled Princes Chakrapong (exiled for his alleged role in a 1994 coup attempt) and Sirivudh (accused of plotting to assassinate Hun Sen). Former Finance Minister and activist opposition leader Sam Rainsy was also in France at the time. Suspecting a conspiracy, Hun Sen announced that he would use military force to prevent any attempt to dissolve the government. The announcement caused alarm in Phnom Penh until Sihanouk issued a formal denial of any plot to oust Hun Sen. In August, Ranariddh told reporters that violence against Funcinpec was escalating and could jeopardize local elections scheduled for 1997 and national elections in 1998.

Threats from Khmer Rouge guerrillas were dramatically reduced in 1996 with the defection, on August 8, of Ieng Sary, Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot's close associate and former brother-in-law. Ieng Sary was followed by two division commanders, Mit Chhien and Sok Pheap, who brought with them at least 1,000 troops (roughly 20 percent of the guerrilla army). King Sihanouk in September granted amnesty to Ieng Sary, lifting a 1979 death sentence. And after long and intricate negotiations, an agreement in principle was reached to merge the disaffected troops into the national Army.

Territorial disputes continued to fester between Cambodia and Vietnam, and the "mainstream" Khmer Rouge, ousted from power by Vietnam in 1979, played upon local fear and animosity toward the Vietnamese in seeking to restore its political prospects.



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